Former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe says the South west plays a very significant role for any politician who intends to win in the forth coming general elections.
According to Ogunlewe, any astute candidate who can secure at least half of the votes cast in the south-west will have a significant advantage throughout Nigeria.
“The Northwest has over 21 million registered voters, followed by the South West with approximately 17 million. If any clever politician can relate to those voters and secure at least half of the 17 million, that person will have a significant advantage across Nigeria, as this is a major component of the votes.”
These were his thoughts when he appeared as a guest on TVC’s This Morning with Yori Folarin.
The Senator, who remarked that the results of the previous elections were quite close, added that the dynamics of politics were changing and that claiming the south west would be more difficult than previously.
He further said certain tendencies have developed which cannot be taken for granted.
“We all know there are tendencies that have evolved, and there are some key individuals who cannot be taken for granted; we must accommodate them, allow them be relevant, and make certain they do not go to the other side.”
Speaking about Asiwaju’s candidacy, Ogunlewe stated that while the APC presidential flagbearer will have an advantage in the Southwest, the skills of the PDP presidential flagbearer Atiku Abubakar in the South West should not be underestimated because his wife is from the South West and he is well-versed in South West politics.
In response to Nigerians’ concerns about running a Muslim-Muslim ticket, the former Minister of Works declared that the party understood it was unavoidable before it happened.
“We checked the figures, majority of votes will come from Muslim north. If you want to win an election, do you go for the figures or you go for faith? because it is something we have to live with.
“19 governors from the North conceded power to the South, i never believed it could happened in Nigeria. The configuration of Nigeria deliberately favours the North, the number of local government we have deliberately favours the North”.
On the impact of Afenifere to the campaign of Tinubu/Shettima in the south west, Ogunlewe stated that the Afenifere phenominal has dwindled very drastically unlike what we had pre-1999 election.
“The strength and power of Afenifere has dwindled drastically for election purposes. They are still significant but in terms of voice, pedigree, people who are older can still relate to them but not the younger generation.”
People who will cast ballots today cannot identify with the Afenifere era as a symbol any longer. The responsibility for managing the affairs of the community has not been assumed by traditional leaders.
Ogunlewe called on party members to work harder as there are no longer assumptions in politics.
“You can’t take things for granted. The people that will matter in the south west must be part of you because on the day of the election, you will not be there” he added.